Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday commissioned the Eko Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Fashion Hub-1 in Lagos, projected to serve 380 Small and Medium Enterprises daily.
The MSME Fashion Hub-1, which is a shared facility in Lagos State under the National MSME Clinic Scheme is situated around Alade Market, off popular Allen Avenue in Ikeja Local Government Area of the State.
Vice President Osinbajo and Governor Sanwo-Olu, while speaking at the official commissioning, said government at federal and state levels remained committed to promoting and developing small businesses, especially in the areas of skill acquisition.
Osinbajo, who joined the commissioning ceremony virtually from Abuja, reiterated the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s commitment to supporting the growth and development of MSME during and post COVID-19.
The vice president, who promised to provide two additional MSME Fashion hubs to serve Lagos Central and Lagos East senatorial districts as requested by Governor Sanwo-Olu, said the fashion industry was going to be one of Nigeria’s greatest sources of revenue, bigger than oil in the nearest future.
“MSMEs are the engine for Nigeria’s economy because when they thrive, the country thrives and when they struggle, the country struggles. This is why the Federal Government is committed to creating a conducive environment for MSME to do exceedingly well,” he said.
He also charged other state governments and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to emulate initiatives that would engender the development of MSME across the country.
Sanwo-Olu assured that Lagos State was committed to ensuring that micro, small and medium enterprises in the state had the necessary leverage for the generation of lasting wealth, saying they had an indispensable role to play in the growth and sustainability of the state economy and any other economy.
The governor acknowledged the contribution of the Organised Private Sector, especially Access Bank led by Mr. Herbert Wigwe, who had partnered both Office of the Vice President and Lagos State, as well as other various Federal Government agencies that had collaborated to make the National MSMEs clinics a success.
“The success of MSMEs in Lagos State translates to the success of small businesses across the entire sub-Saharan of Africa and Africa as a whole.
“This shared facility that we are commissioning today and we are handing over to the community today is certainly a step in the right direction. It is a win-win situation for everybody as it shows our progressive dedication to the eradication of poverty and the economic emancipation of our people.
“The destiny of several Lagosians is about to positively change because of this facility. This is the beginning of many victories over unemployment and poverty that we are passing on to our citizens.
“This fully equipped shared facility is a demonstration of our APC-led government’s people-driven agenda. Our ultimate goal is to make life better for our people. We have selfless service as a rare privilege as well as an opportunity to leave a legacy of prosperity for our teeming population,” the governor said.
Speaking on his determination to ensure that people of Lagos Central and Lagos East senatorial districts also enjoyed MSME in their senatorial districts, Governor Sanwo-Olu appealed to Vice President Osinbajo to work with Lagos State to replicate the Shared Facility Scheme in the senatorial districts.
“This is just the first phase of the Shared Facility Scheme. Leaving here today, we much charge ourselves and say we have unveil one in Lagos West, we need to take this same thing to Lagos Central and Lagos East. And so Mr Vice President, I am challenging you and myself that within the next six to nine months, we need to replicate this in Obalende in Lagos Central and replicate it in Somolu, which will cover Lagos East. When we do this, indeed Lagosians would be happier for both of us.
“We must resiliently ensure that this is replicated in other parts of Lagos State. Apart from building the Made in Lagos brand, we are set to optimally harness the economic growth and opportunities that are inherent in vibrant MSMEs,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, who also spoke, at the ceremony, said the shared facility would provide a conducive environment for the SME space.
Katagum noted that the initiative was one of the key takeaways of the MSME clinic chaired by the Vice President, saying shared facilities were effective tools that could address infrastructure challenges which had hindered the growth of SMEs.
She also commended the Lagos State government for the laudable initiative, particularly at this time when support for SMEs was critical amid the pandemic.
The State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Lola Akande, in her own remark, said the Eko MSME Fashion Hub-1, which was the first phase of the shared MSME Fashion facility, was equipped with state-of-the-art machinery such as industrial button-hole machines.
She added that the facility would also enhance the productivity of quality apparel capable of competing favourably globally.
The Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, who acknowledged the outstanding growth of the Nigerian fashion industry, reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to growing the nation’s fashion industry.
“We will continue to partner with the fashion industry because we believe it would boost local growth of SMEs in that space,” he said.
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